God has always had a plan. His plan was so great that He could not entrust it to anyone else. But in order to finish it, He would have to come to earth. King Solomon said from the glorious temple he had built, “Will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” In 1 Kings 8:27, God did indeed dwell on the earth, as a man—a human being! This is the astounding theme of this message. If God did dwell on the earth, wha was He like? What did He say? What did He do?
A biography has the idea of entirety. Therefore the gospels are not biographies. The last verse of John makes this clear. John 21:25 says, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” The gospels are not the full pictures; they are just snapshots of the life of Christ. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but pictures are a pale comparison to the real thing. As amazing as the gospels are, someday we will see the real and behold His glory.
Matthew wrote with the Jews in mind, and emphasized Jesus as King of the Jews. Mark wrote with the Romans in mind, and emphasized Christ as the suffering servant. Luke wrote with the Greeks in mind, and emphasized Christ as the Son of Man. John wrote with both Jews and all Gentiles in mind, emphasizing Jesus Christ as the Son of God!
John stressed the Old Testament prophecies of Christ, which pointed to something to come later in the New Testament. John pulled these old pictures out of the big book, as the types and the symbols of Christ in the Old Testament. The entire Bible is about Jesus Christ and all of history is His story. He’s on every page in types, symbols, and shadows.
John explains the fulfillment of these things in the person of Jesus. Jesus is the lamb from Old Testament sacrifices. He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world! Adam and Eve sinned. Abel and Cain inherited that sin nature. Both were to bring a sacrifice for their sins. Abel brought a lamb, Cain brought fruits and vegetables. Abel’s offering was accepted, Cain’s rejected! What made the difference? The answer is simple: The blood of the lamb!
Genesis 4—the sacrifice for their sins was a lamb for one man. Exodus 12—the sacrifice for their sins was every family to take one lamb, sacrifice it, and apply its blood to the top of the doorpost and the sides (what was the symbol? Jesus is the door!) Leviticus 16—high priest killed a lamb for the sins of the whole nation once a year (this continued for hundreds of years). John 1—Jesus is introduced: “Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” All the other lambs were leading up to this; they were just pictures of the perfect Lamb that was to come. Now there’s no need to sacrifice literal lambs; for this Lamb will span all eternity! The others were only pictures of Christ; once you have the fulfillment, you no longer need the ‘type.’ Leviticus 17:11—“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”
Why is the blood so important? Without blood there cannot be life in the physical body. The blood is why the Bible is Living Word of God. Blood flows through the Bible just as it does through our veins. The blood of Christ keeps Christianity alive. The blood is spoken of 427 times in our Bible, so it is easy to see that it is a major theme. Without the blood, the Gospel is dead and we are deprived of eternal life. Jesus said, “For this is my blood of the New Testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). The writer of Hebrews says, “Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without the shedding of blood is no remission (Hebrews 9:22). Paul explained, “We have redemption through the blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14) Peter added, “We are not redeemed with silver and gold, and precious stones, but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18) Then John agreed with Peter and Paul, writing, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
The early church understood the importance of blood. There are 22 sermons recorded by the four preachers in the Book of Acts, all give the same message: the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The blood is the essential ingredient of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They understood His death and the provision of “covering by the blood.”
Even Judas cried out. “I have betrayed innocent blood.” Paul explained, “For He (God) hath made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” Pilate said, “I find in him no fault at all” (John 18:38). Jesus Himself said, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” (John 8:46). He was “Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26). Again, “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). John added, “In Him is no sin” (1 John 3:5).
Christ was God incarnate—“made flesh.” What a profound statement! God Almighty limited His dimensions to that of a human body! We seem to picture Him only as divine with a holy halo, but he was flesh and bone, with limbs and hair. He had internal organs. He ate and processed food the same as we do. He wasn’t a phantom spirit. At His core He was God robed in flesh: 100 percent man and 100 percent God. He was as much human as we are! Did He have perfectly straight teeth? Are yours? When He was a teenager, did He ever get a zit? What would His breath be like? We don’t know! But, John emphasizes that Jesus was just like us. He got weary and tired. He had to sleep. He would wake up. When the hairs of his beard were plucked, I believe His eyes watered. What do you think? This sounds inappropriate. I’m bringing God down to man’s level. I didn’t do it, God did!
John says Jesus got thirsty and that He sighed (groaned from within) over the death of a friend, Lazarus, and then He outwardly wept literal tears. He bled literal blood, and His heart stopped, and He died. The eternal God died in human form just like we will. All these things he did just like we do. Except sin! It’s a good thing he was human, because he was our substitute!
There’s no way we can completely wrap our heads around this truth of God taking on human flesh. This is the mystery of the incarnation. 1 Timothy 3:16: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.” Him being 100 percent God and 100 percent man doesn’t compute. Paul calls it a mystery. I call it a miracle! The miracle of incarnation.
In Isaiah, Christ is described as a man. Isaiah 53:3—“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows.” Isaiah 9:6—“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” He was both God and Man.
All His life there was this dual nature. A natural father would have imparted the sin-nature of Adam to Christ and His death wouldn’t have provided redemption. The virgin birth is essential to the salvation of our souls. Luke gives us the only story from Jesus’ childhood. He wisely answered the questions from the doctors and theologians. I’m sure one of their questions was, “How old are you?” This is speculation, but He could have answered, “On my mother’s side I’m 12, but on my Father’s side I’m much older than my mother and the same age as my Father! He would get thirsty on His mother’s side, but on His Father’s side He was the water of life! He would get hungry, yet he was the bread of life. He had no money or possessions, yet owned cattle on 1,000 hills. He wept at the tomb, then said, “Lazarus come forth.” He fell under load of the cross, yet bore the sins of world.
While it is true that He was ignored by the world and rejected by His own people, there have always been some who will receive Him. John 1:12—“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” This is one of the greatest verses in the Bible.
In the Old Testament, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would apply the blood in the Holy of Holies and then would emerge and cry out Tetelestai; which means “Paid in full!” Now mankind’s sins could justly be forgiven and man could be reconciled to God. God has certainly left none of His work unfinished. In creation, He worked diligently for six days; finishing the heavens and the earth (Genesis 2:1). God rested only after He had completed the work. Moses learned this valuable lesson from God. God had commissioned him to oversee the building of the huge and elaborate Tabernacle in the wilderness. Thousands of details had to be carried out because the Tabernacle was to be a type of Christ. We read in Exodus 39:32, “Thus was all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation finished: and the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so did they.” Paul the apostle gave that testimony, “I have finished my course” (2 Timothy 4:7). Jesus prayed His great intercessory prayer for His disciples just before His death: “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4).
Now just a few days later, He would be crying out from the cross, “Tetelestai!” Luke 23:46—“And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit’ and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” He died when He chose to die. They didn’t kill Him. He laid down His life. He released His Spirit not when they said but when he said. It wasn’t nails or blood loss, nor a spear in His side that ended His life. He ended it because it was finished. But it was only the beginning! On His mother’s side He died for our sins then on His Father’s side, He rose so that we might be reconciled to God and live abundantly! Have you received Him? 1John 1:9t tells you how: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.